Jena Mine worker dies in suspected suffocation

By News Editor

 An employee at Jena Mines is believed to have died last week of suspected suffocation from carbon monoxide at the mine. 

The now deceased Godfrey Ganagana according to Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) died due to the Mine’s negligence on workers safety. 

“The Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) has learnt with sadness the death of Godfrey Ganagana at Jena Mines. He died in a suspected case of suffocation after inhaling dangerous gas emissions whilst conducting inspections underground,” ZDAMWU General Secretary Justice Chinhema said. 

Ganagana who was a gang leader met his death after he had gone to inspect the safety of his passage for his colleagues after the mining blast on September 3, 2020 at the Mine’s N15 Section and was at level 210 metres from the ground.

 “It is believed he died from carbon monoxide after he entered a zone with broken pipes containing compressed air and water further, exposing him to seriuos occupational hazards,” Chinhema said. 

Chinhema fumed further that it is disturbing that the victim was forced to perform a task without the required gas monitoring devices which is used to detect the presence of dangerous gas emissions in the underground mine shafts.

 “This negligence on the part of the employer for failing to provide such life saving equipment amounts to committing constructive murder and the mine authorities should be held accountable for the death of this innocent worker who have left behind two children,” he said. 

Chinhema further said employers must not prioritise profits at the expense of the workers safety. ZDAMWU is calling on the company to institute an independent investigation by inspectors from the National Social Security Authority and officials from the trade unions to establish the exact death of Ganagana. 

Meanwhile, Chinhema said over 10 workers since the beginning of this year have died in occupational accidents in both conventional and artisinal miners across the country, “yet nothing meaningful is being done by relevant authorities to address these callous acts which has not only taken away innocent lives but has robbed families of their bread winners.

The mine representives have strongly warned mine owners to prioritise workers safety or they risked facing demonstrations by miners. 

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